As Glossin died without heirs, and without payment of the price,
the estate of Ellangowan was again thrown upon the hands of Mr.
Godfrey Bertram's creditors, the right of most of whom was,
however, defeasible in case Henry Bertram should establish his
character of heir of entail. This young gentleman put his affairs
into the hands of Mr. Pleydell and Mr. Mac-Morlan, with one single
proviso, that, though he himself should be obliged again to go to
India, every debt justly and honourably due by his father should
be made good to the claimant. Mannering, who heard this
declaration, grasped him kindly by the hand, and from that moment
might be dated a thorough understanding between them.
The hoards of Miss Margaret Bertram, and the liberal assistance of
the Colonel, easily enabled the heir to make provision for payment
of the just creditors of his father, while the ingenuity and
research of his law friends detected, especially in the accounts
of Glossin, so many overcharges as greatly diminished the total
amount. In these circumstances the creditors did not hesitate to
recognise Bertram's right, and to surrender to him the house and
property of his ancestors. All the party repaired from Woodbourne
to take possession, amid the shouts of the tenantry and the
neighbourhood; and so eager was Colonel Mannering to superintend
certain improvements which he had recommended to Bertram, that he
removed with his family from Woodbourne to Ellangowan, although at
present containing much less and much inferior accommodation.
The poor Dominie's brain was almost turned with joy on returning
to his old habitation. He posted upstairs, taking three steps at
once, to a little shabby attic, his cell and dormitory in former
days, and which the possession of his much superior apartment at
Woodbourne had never banished from his memory. Here one sad
thought suddenly struck the honest man--the books! no three rooms
in Ellangowan were capable to contain them. While this qualifying
reflection was passing through his mind, he was suddenly summoned
by Mannering to assist in calculating some proportions relating to
a large and splendid house which was to be built on the site of
the New Place of Ellangowan, in a style corresponding to the
magnificence of the ruins in its vicinity. Among the various rooms
in the plan, the Dominie observed that one of the largest was
entitled THE LIBRARY; and close beside was a snug, well-
proportioned chamber, entitled Mr. SAMPSON'S APARTMENT.
'Prodigious, prodigious, pro-di-gi-ous!' shouted the enraptured
Mr. Pleydell had left the party for some time; but he returned,
according to promise, during the Christmas recess of the courts.
He drove up to Ellangowan when all the family were abroad but the
Colonel, who was busy with plans of buildings and pleasure-
grounds, in which he was well skilled, and took great delight.
'Ah ha!' said the Counsellor, 'so here you are! Where are the
ladies? where is the fair Julia?'
'Walking out with young Hazlewood, Bertram, and Captain Delaserre,
a friend of his, who is with us just now. They are gone to plan
out a cottage at Derncleugh. Well, have you carried through your
'With a wet finger,' answered the lawyer; 'got our youngster's
special service retoured into Chancery. We had him served heir
before the macers.'
'Macers? who are they?'
'Why, it is a kind of judicial Saturnalia. You must know, that one
of the requisites to be a macer, or officer in attendance upon our
supreme court, is, that they shall be men of no knowledge.'
'Now, our Scottish legislature, for the joke's sake I suppose,
have constituted those men of no knowledge into a peculiar court
for trying questions of relationship and descent, such as this
business of Bertram, which often involve the most nice and
complicated questions of evidence.'
'The devil they have! I should think that rather inconvenient,'
'O, we have a practical remedy for the theoretical absurdity. One
or two of the judges act upon such occasions as prompters and
assessors to their own doorkeepers. But you know what Cujacius
says, "Multa sunt in moribus dissentanea, multa sine ratione."
[Footnote: The singular inconsistency hinted at is now, in a great
degree, removed.] However, this Saturnalian court has done our
business; and a glorious batch of claret we had afterwards at
Walker's. Mac-Morlan will stare when he sees the bill.'
'Never fear,' said the Colonel, 'we'll face the shock, and
entertain the county at my friend Mrs. Mac-Candlish's to boot.'
'And choose Jock Jabos for your master of horse?' replied the
'Perhaps I may.'
'And where is Dandie, the redoubted Lord of Liddesdale?' demanded
'Returned to his mountains; but he has promised Julia to make a
descent in summer, with the goodwife, as he calls her, and I don't
know how many children.'
'O, the curly-headed varlets! I must come to play at Blind Harry
and Hy Spy with them. But what is all this?' added Pleydell,
taking up the plans. 'Tower in the centre to be an imitation of
the Eagle Tower at Caernarvon--corps de logis--the devil! Wings--
wings! Why, the house will take the estate of Ellangowan on its
back and fly away with it!'
'Why, then, we must ballast it with a few bags of sicca rupees,'
replied the Colonel.
'Aha! sits the wind there? Then I suppose the young dog carries
off my mistress Julia?'
'Even so, Counsellor.'
'These rascals, the post-nati, get the better of us of the old
school at every turn,' said Mr. Pleydell. 'But she must convey and
make over her interest in me to Lucy.'
'To tell you the truth, I am afraid your flank will be turned
there too,' replied the Colonel.
'Here has been Sir Robert Hazlewood,' said Mannering, 'upon a
visit to Bertram, thinking and deeming and opining--'
'O Lord! pray spare me the worthy Baronet's triads!'
'Well, sir,' continued Mannering, 'to make short, he conceived
that, as the property of Singleside lay like a wedge between two
farms of his, and was four or five miles separated from
Ellangowan, something like a sale or exchange or arrangement might
take place, to the mutual convenience of both parties.'
'Well, and Bertram--'
'Why, Bertram replied, that he considered the original settlement
of Mrs. Margaret Bertram as the arrangement most proper in the
circumstances of the family, and that therefore the estate of
Singleside was the property of his sister.'
'The rascal!' said Pleydell, wiping his spectacles. 'He'll steal
my heart as well as my mistress. Et puis?'
'And then Sir Robert retired, after many gracious speeches; but
last week he again took the field in force, with his coach and six
horses, his laced scarlet waistcoat, and best bob-wig--all very
grand, as the good-boy books say.'
'Ay! and what was his overture?'
'Why, he talked with great form of an attachment on the part of
Charles Hazlewood to Miss Bertram.'
'Ay, ay; he respected the little god Cupid when he saw him perched
on the Dun of Singleside. And is poor Lucy to keep house with that
old fool and his wife, who is just the knight himself in
'No; we parried that. Singleside House is to be repaired for the
young people, and to be called hereafter Mount Hazlewood.'
'And do you yourself, Colonel, propose to continue at Woodbourne?'
'Only till we carry these plans into effect. See, here's the plan
of my bungalow, with all convenience for being separate and sulky
when I please.'
'And, being situated, as I see, next door to the old castle, you
may repair Donagild's tower for the nocturnal contemplation of the
celestial bodies? Bravo, Colonel!'
'No, no, my dear Counsellor! Here ends THE ASTROLOGER.'